Evolution of Palestinian Civil Society and the Role of Nationalism, Occupation, and Religion

  • Yaser AlashqarEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter examines the development of Palestinian civil society and its relationship to nationalism, occupation and religion in the wider Israeli-Palestinian context. The study identifies and analyzes the three phases of Palestinian society development which are social formations prior to the creation of the State of Israel in Palestine in 1948, the emergence of civil society structures in the 1970s and 1980s including nationalist and Islamist grassroots organizations, and the engagement of nationalist civil society with the Palestinian national movement during the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising of 1987–1993).

The main argument in this chapter is that the Palestinian social structures emerged historically in the three key phases and have been influenced in recent history by critical realities and forces including nationalism, occupation and the role of religion in society. The examination of this central argument is informed by research and secondary sources. The main analytical findings suggest that the defining characteristics of the three development phases of Palestinian civil society include elitism, conflict with Zionism, revival of Palestinian nationalism, emergence of an Islamization agenda in the civil society sphere, and the conflicting nature of the social formation process in the 1970s and 1980s in the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation. For clarity, it is important to point out that this chapter does not address the transformation of Palestinian civil society post-Oslo peace process in 1993 as previous research has covered this transformational process.


Palestine Civil society Zionism Conflict Nationalism Occupation Religion 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity College Dublin (the University of Dublin)DublinIreland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Paul Carnegie
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Government, Development & International AffairsThe University of the South PacificSuvaFiji

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